How to Choose the Best Nursing Training Program near Peoria AZ
Searching for the right nursing program near Peoria AZ may feel like a difficult undertaking, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate selection. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the distance of the school. Going with the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house is probably not the best way to select a nursing program. There are many essential additional things to check into before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let's first cover the nursing degree choices that are offered along with what the functions of nurses are in our health system.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including Peoria AZ hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Monitoring patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master's Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options available to become a nurse. And in order to become a Registered Nurse (RN), a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A nursing student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are available to aspiring students in the Peoria Arizona area.
- Associates Degree. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor's Degree. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Arizona colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might desire to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master's Degree. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state requirements.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more in demand way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend college for some Peoria AZ students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus near Peoria AZ or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Arizona for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Arizona school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Peoria AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges you are considering what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Peoria AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with Peoria AZ area hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Peoria AZ Nursing School
Choosing the ideal nursing school is potentially the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are numerous aspects that you need to think about when choosing a nursing college. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this article, it is critical that you pick a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Peoria AZ.